Something I've been stewing about (without writing about it) regarding Howard Dean made a showing today, (see here too) and doesn't it color me red to see Al Sharpton take the words right out of my mouth on Dean not having clue one about America's other half.
Really, it was this article on Africana.com done the day before Dean appologized for the confederate-flag-waving-redneck-in-a-pickup-truck comment that made me say: This dude sounds like a New Englander who's never been anyplace else.
In the Africana.com interview, Dean was asked about his redneck comment this way: "To a lot of people your comments about being the candidate for the guys with Confederate flags on their trucks seemed to be about catering to white southerners at the expense of black democratic voters."
[[Here, let me tell you what Dean might have said if he hadn't been trying to sound like Dean being "way cool" on the race issue: "What the hell are you talking about? Are you implying that blacks in the south are equal to rednecks, and that somehow I've elevated rednecks over blacks because I said I'm the man every redneck should vote for? Are you insane? What I was SAYING was that I'm the guy who can BRING conservative gun-toting rednecks and the blacks they despise together to vote for me, because I have a weblog."]]
The fact is that Dean has no clue about the southern half of the U.S., as evidenced in his confederate flag comment, and in his case the south means anything located geographically below Massachusetts. He ran a state that is 98-percent white, and had no diversity on his cabinet, and thinks it counts that he had a lone member of one minority group or another sitting somewhere on the fifth floor during his administration.
OH BUT WAIT! He wants to take America back. (That's not black, that's b-a-c-k.) I forgot.
What Dean did say is this:
That's mostly people twisting around my words. I gave a speech last February where I said it's time for white guys from the South who drive pick up trucks to vote with us because their kids don't have healthcare either.
Okay folks. Let me run that by you again. Ready?
I gave a speech last February where I said it's time for white guys from the South who drive pick up trucks to vote with us because their kids don't have healthcare either.
You mean because all blacks in the south are uneducated, unemployed, and are without health insurance Howard?
Holy! Only a Vermonter can get away with saying that. Okay, let's move on:
What I'm trying to do is rebuild the alliance that Franklin Roosevelt put together of working class white southerners and working class African Americans in the South, because all the progress that we've made in this country had to do with when black voters, white voters and brown voters vote together.
Typical deanspeak, which when translated means: "What I'm trying to do is get elected. I'm trying to get elected."
For white voters in the South to be voting for a president who gave $26,000 in tax cuts to the top 1% when they don't even make $26,000 is abysmal. The Democrats have got to bring in white working class voters. I think the biggest misconception is that that this will be at the expense of African American voters. I think that's completely false."
Exactly who's conception is this? Does anyone think that 1) conservative working class whites in the south are the ones driving pickup trucks with confederate flags in them? Please tell me only Howard Dean thinks this. Please tell me you don't think this. and 2) That southern blacks would run screaming from the polls if they saw confederate-loving white boys voting for howard dean?
African American voters have supported this party to the tune of 92, 96%. Nobody in my administration is ever going to turn their back on African American voters, but we have to broaden this base if we're going to start winning in the South and there's no reason not to win in the South.
Deanslation again: "I'm trying to get elected here. I would never turn my back on any constituencey that votes democratic 92-96% of the time. But blacks and browns alone aren't enough to get me elected. I need poor whites too. Asian? What's an Asian?
Another question--check this out: George W. Bush filed an amicus brief in the University of Michigan case regarding affirmative action ? how would you respond to attempts to end race as a factor in educational and hiring decisions?
I'm a strong supporter of affirmative action. I say in my speeches that I think it's important for white politicians to talk to white audiences about race and I do that in a way that nobody else does. I understand that's a controversial comment, but I stick by it. What I talk about is the unconscious bias that everybody has toward hiring people like themselves. I talk about the Wall Street Journal study that showed that a white person with a drug conviction is more likely to be called back for a job interview than a black person with a clean record. As long as that kind of behavior goes on, we need to have an open dialogue on race in this country and it needs to be led by white politicians because it's often white people who are unaware of their own biases ? as everybody has ? I mean, black people have unconscious biases too, but since white people do most of the hiring we need to have a nation-wide dialogue including everybody about the unconscious biases that we have. Since there's a disproportionate number of white folks doing the hiring, it results in institutional, if unintended, racism.
Again, one more time with feeling:
I mean, black people have unconscious biases too, but since white people do most of the hiring we need to have a nation-wide dialogue including everybody about the unconscious biases that we have. Since there's a disproportionate number of white folks doing the hiring, it results in institutional, if unintended, racism.
Did he just say that having more blacks in HR would solve joblessness among blacks? Does this guy live in America? And has this guy worked--I mean, like, in a job? I guess since he's a doctor, maybe not. Because, you see, he thinks that because white people do most of the human resources work in American corporations, if we can just make White HR Managers more sensitive to their biases, that might help blacks get jobs?
Does he know how many minorities work in HR? Does he know that, um, HR isn't making the hiring decisions in most organizations? That their job is to get folks in for interviews with people who do make hiring decisions--you know, the ones who don't want to hire blacks? Does he have any idea of the depth of these issues aside from what they mean to his campaign?
And the worst part--and I do mean the worst part--is that the interviewer didn't ONCE challenge him, make him back up, make him explain. That's when Dean gets in trouble. When he has to explain what he means.
Look, I don't have time to go through this point by point. But you blacksfordean and africanamericansfordean need to have a talk with your man, maybe take him around the south for a while before he gets here. Something. ANYTHING.
Otherwise you'll never get those whiteguysinpickupsfordean where you want them.
(BTW, did blacksfordean and africanamericansfordean move up to featured sites on blogforamerica today, in light of the Sharpton comments, or have they been up there all along--I don't remember. Anyway, that's neither here nor there. Or is it.)
Others weigh in here and here. But it gets way better over here.